Dynamic verb cheat sheet for your academic CV

You may be excelling in your research, but it can be difficult to express that drive and momentum when it comes to your CV.

Dry nouns and flat, lifeless verbs run the risk of making your application forgettable, no matter how compelling its content. It’s worth investing some time in your CV now to capture and communicate the value of your offer to potential new colleagues and employers.

A sure-fire way to achieve this is to write in an active voice and use dynamic verbs when describing your skills and achievements.

An example from the University of Kent’s careers site demonstrates this well. Rather than writing:

“For my research project, I had to carry out a survey of patients’ attitudes to health care services for the elderly. This involved interviewing patients in hospital and in their homes. A database was used to keep track of data collected.”

Try instead:

“Devised and prepared a survey of patients’ attitudes to health care services for the elderly as my final-year project. Interviewed 70 elderly patients and obtained a substantial amount of data. Created a database to analyse and interpret this material.”

To inject some energy into your CV with a range of dynamic verbs we’ve put together a quick reference cheat sheet to get you started. Here are ten examples in each of the following skill sets:

Research skills

Teaching skills

Management skills

Technical skills

Administrative skills

Financial skills

Communication skills

Cheat Sheet Download

Once you have refreshed your CV, ask a colleague or mentor to review it – or better still have it professionally edited. Investing time now in ensuring that your CV is as tightly, clearly and powerfully worded as possible will reap benefits when you submit your next application.

As soon as it’s ready, remember to upload your refreshed CV.

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Jo Mitchell is an experienced writer and editor. After studying Modern Languages at the University of Oxford she worked in fundraising at Oxfam GB and Viva, where she specialised in writing communications for major donors. She now provides freelance editing and copywriting services at Nightingale Ink in the firm belief that sometimes words can sing.

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